Dec 26, 2010 11:47 AM by Chris Welty
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Blacks made up nearly two-thirds of the
Democrats removed from Louisiana's voter rolls because they hadn't
voted in at least two years.
State election officials tell The Advocate it's a result of
Hurricane Katrina's displacement of people from heavily Democratic
and black New Orleans.
After the hurricane in 2005, the purges - legally required in
even-numbered years -were delayed two years to give people a chance
to move back.
Secretary of State's spokesman Jacques Berry said the
percentages of canceled voters generally mirror percentages of
black, white, Democratic and Republican voters before the purges.
He said New Orleans voters make up about 10 percent of statewide
registration, but 38 percent of the voters canceled a week ago were
from the city.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler said an unusually large number
of voters was removed. He said that's because a backlog built up
since 2006, when the Legislature voted to suspend voter canvassing
because of displaced Katrina voters.
Orleans Parish had 45,830 names removed, followed by Jefferson
with 11,647; St. Tammany, 8,155; and East Baton Rouge, 7,276.
Before the purge, blacks made up about 30.6 percent of
Louisiana's 2.94 million voters - and 48.9 percent of the
According to voter statistics released Monday, black voters made
up 40.3 percent of the 121,826 names removed as inactive. And they
were 62 percent of the Democrats removed from the rolls.
After the voter roll cleanup, Louisiana has 2.8 million
East Baton Rouge now has the largest number - 266,652 -
surpassing Jefferson in the second spot and Orleans in third.
Voters are placed on the inactive list when the Secretary of
State's Office is unable to verify their addresses or their mail is
returned as undeliverable.
Those whose names have been removed can re-register.
Schedler said registrars of voters made "valiant attempts" to
contact the voters prior to their names being excised.
Names must be removed if voters have not participated in any
election from one congressional election through another
congressional contest two years later.
"On one side we are obligated to do voter outreach and increase
voter rolls, but we have to keep the voter rolls accurate,"